Apologies for the silence of late folks. A mixture of the real world, a new side project and the all important event of Wrestlemania has gotten in the way of our true love of late. We have a Scottish wedding to attend this week so do not expect us to surface again till later next week. Kudos to the Bride and Groom for picking a wedding weekend where there is not a Grand Prix. Such thoughtful friends. The good news is the side project which is distracting us at present has allowed us to get our hands on some useful information and once it has been complete we may very well turn our attention to MRT and share what we find. Don’t say we are not good to you.
We thoroughly enjoy the team’s performance in Bahrain. Take away our one and only points scoring race it was easily the best weekend the team have had since joining F1. There have been very occasional trips to Q2 and the afore mentioned points in Monaco but there was always an element of luck about those weekends whilst this weekend’s performance was purely down to the pure pace.
Our highlight of the weekend was Pascal Wehrleins qualifying performance. In placing his car 16th on the grid he was able to out qualify both Renualts, Saubers and one Force India. The pace of the car was underlined as both cars managed to out qualify Felipe Nasr’s Sauber. Once Rio finds that confidence he is very evidently lacking to fully push in the car hopefully this can be a regular feature.
The race itself at one point looked like it may deliver a very surprising points finish for Wehrlein with 4 cars taken out on the first lap. Tire degradation, a symptom of the proper lack of running during pre-season, is still an issue for the team but with both cars making it to the flag, valuable data will be collected and we expect the team to be on top of it by the time the European races start. Wehrlein finished an excellent P.13, ahead of both Force India and Filipe Nasr’s Sauber. I don’t think anyone thought we’d finish ahead of Force India at any point this season.
Rio Haryanto had a decent Sunday. He made it to the flag for the first time and completed his first full race stint in the car. He was only 5 seconds behind Wehrlein once the 2nd round of stops had been made but a split strategy meant his 3rd stint was spent on the slower medium tires. We noted that Ted Kravitz reported that Rio was much slower at entering and leaving his pit box during the pit stops and lost a lot of time. This might be a symptom of his Free Practice collision with Grojsean in Melbourne. This, once again, is something that can be worked on day in day out once the teams are back at base. On the plus side for Rio, the FOM finally got round to putting the Indonesian flag behind his grid graphic so you can all stop tweeting us about it now.
Melbourne is typically an unreliable guide to the rest of the season and so it proved once again. Both Renault and Sauber certainly looking beatable for now. The nice big long straights in Beijing should suit the MRT05 to a tee and we should be able to replicate last weekend for if not more. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have finally joined the chasing pack and it is not just us fanboys who think this. Listen to this from Kevin Magnussen. Music to our ears.
There have been rumors circulating about a possible Ferrari/Alfa Romeo takeover at Sauber. Whilst we do certainly do not want another F1 team to fall off the grid, that particular takeover has ramifications not only for Manor but the sport as a whole. If and when it happens, we will explain how it will affect Manor Race Team short and long term.
We shall be back with you soon.